WRAL.com’s Hanrahan Comes Full Circle with Garth Brooks

Kathy Hanrahan & Garth Brooks

WRAL.com’s Kathy Hanrahan interviews country singer Garth Brooks on Friday, March 11, 2016. (Photo by WRAL-TV’s Adam Owens)

NMG Out & About Editor Kathy Hanrahan loves photographing concerts, and she recently got to meet the man that started it all:  Garth Brooks.  When the country singer came to the Triangle on Friday, March 11, 2016, Hanrahan was there.  She got to interview Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood, for WRAL.com’s Out & About and then photograph the concert that night.

We asked her about the mountaintop encounter and she kindly shared her experience with capcom:

They were truly the most genuine and nicest celebrities I’ve ever met. I’ve interviewed a lot of people in my 15 years as an entertainment reporter, so I’ve dealt with some divas before! LOL.

They did a press conference with the media on Friday. Most celebs coming to town don’t do this. We just have to hope to get some time with them. Garth and Trisha got off the plane, went to the arena and started talking to us. No down time. They wanted to know every reporter’s name before they asked a question and really remained engaged with each person. 

Garth Brooks

NMG’s Kathy Hanrahan captured photographs of country singer Garth Brooks at his concert at the PNC Arena on Friday, March 11, 2016.

Garth was very emotional when talking about his love of music. He teared up talking about James Taylor, the time he saw Queen in concert and seeing his daughter play soccer and being around for those milestone events (that’s why he retired). He even said he wasn’t sure he wanted to go back to touring because he was afraid no one would come to the shows. He teared up again then! 

During the press conference, one writer asked them about training for the concerts. She was a marathon runner and wanted to know what type of stuff they do to prepare. Garth and Trisha were so fascinated by that they started interviewing her about running. 

When I got to ask them a question, I said, “I don’t run, I eat.” Garth loved it and came over to fist bump me! I just about died right there. I asked about Trisha’s upcoming third cookbook and her go-to comfort food. She said she likes to make brown gravy. She eats rice with it but Garth wants mashed potatoes. Garth was standing there just begging me to ask her “who she last made that dish for?!!” So I asked and she said “James Taylor!” 

Garth fanboyed out! He was like “James Taylor was at our house for dinner!” Apparently, James is on their Christmas album but they were keeping it secret. Garth said it was too good a story not to share. He was so excited to talk about it. 

When we got one-on-ones with Garth and Trisha, I hooked them up with some cool stuff from local jewelry maker Moon and Lola. They wanted to give something to Garth’s three daughters, granddaughter and Trisha. Since they couldn’t meet them, I passed along the custom initial bracelets and other items. Trisha loved the gifts and hugged me. 

For Garth, I contacted the Durham Bulls about getting him some gear. He is a huge baseball fan – even played with the Padres and Mets during spring training. The Bulls hooked him up with a custom jersey with his name. Garth loved it and wanted to take photos with it. 

During our interview, I mentioned to him that the reason why I got into concert photography was him. I went to college at Southeastern Louisiana University (same school as Robin Roberts) and I worked at the college paper. My first year there, I saw a photo on the wall at the newspaper office. It was a concert photo of Garth at the Superdome. I asked about who shot it and the editor said it was a one of the newspaper’s photographers. I knew then that I wanted to that. Since then, I’ve shot the Rolling Stones, Cher, Elton John, Snoop Dogg, No Doubt, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Bon Jovi and the list goes on and on. 

Now, I was standing there with Garth. My life had come full circle. He was so happy to hear that, that he called over his tour photographer and told him to make sure I was taken care of for that’s night’s show and could take photos. It was so nice of him. 

I had actually just gotten approved to photograph the show – professional photogs only got 4 minutes to shoot the beginning of the show from 120 feet away from the stage. So that night, I photographed Garth. Then, since I had a ticket to the show, I dropped my camera off in the car and headed back inside. 

During the concert, Garth mentioned our interview. He said that during the press conference earlier that day a young lady told him a story about life coming “full circle” and he had been thinking about it and he was experiencing that as well. He said he used to play the Longbranch and now he was at PNC Arena. When he said that my friends went crazy and so did I. He was talking about me! 

The show was outstanding. He is one of the few performers who can make a giant arena feel like an intimate club show. Definitely one of a kind!

Check out Hanrahan’s coverage of the show for WRAL.com’s Out & About:

Thanks to NMG’s Kathy Hanrahan and WRAL-TV’s Adam Owens for these capcom photos.

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